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Utah blows out BYU, ending 7-game losing streak to rivals, 81-64

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points as the Utes ended a 7-game losing streak to BYU, beating the Cougars easily at the Huntsman Center, 81-64.
Men's Basketball - U o f U vs BYU. Utah beats BYU 81-64. (Bryan Byerly, © 2013)
Men's Basketball - U o f U vs BYU. Utah beats BYU 81-64. (Bryan Byerly, © 2013)
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) -  Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points and Delon Wright chipped in 16 on Saturday night to help Utah beat BYU 81-64, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Cougars.

The Utes (9-1) had lost 11 of their last 12 games in the rivalry series dating to 2006.

“It was a great lift," said Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak. "These Salt Lake kids, it means a lot to them. Parker stepped up and hit two 3's. Then Jordan, he beats me into work and is shooting, most of the time with his dad. I'm so happy for him because of the work he's put in when no one is looking. He was such a catalyst for us this evening.”

“The atmosphere and the fans - I've been coming here since middle school and I’ve never seen that kind of support," said Loveridge, who scored 15 points in the first seven minutes of the game. "It was a big boost right out of the gate.”

Tyler Haws had 14 points to lead the Cougars (8-4) while Eric Mika chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Collinsworth added 12 points and nine boards.

BYU, which came into the game averaging 90 points per game, could not get into an offensive rhythm in either half. The Cougars shot just 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field, 26.3 percent (5 of 19) from distance and 54.8 percent (17 of 31) from the free-throw line.

Utah set the tone offensively and defensively from the opening tip.

“They score a lot of points and they get points quickly on bad shots and turnovers," said Krystkowiak. "They got out in transition only four times it seemed and we wanted to make their offense as dysfunctional as possible. Our personnel did a great job on Carlino and Haws.”

“Coach Krystkowiak had a good game plan defensively," said Wright. "We knew what their personnel was going to do from what we worked on in practice. We saw them get frustrated after we started making shots in the beginning of the game.”

Loveridge's hot shooting helped Utah race to a huge lead. He hit 6-of-8 shots in the game's first seven minutes and the Ute defense shut down the Cougar offense completely through the first half.

BYU just shot 31.4 percent (11 of 35) from the field in the first half and shot 41.7 percent (5 of 12) from the free-throw line.

“We never really found ourselves," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "Guys tried to take it upon themselves to make plays and they ended up shooting from too deep or driving into traffic. Then we would drive and get fouled but miss free throws We weren’t in sync. It had a lot to do with the atmosphere and their athleticism."

Loveridge drained a pair of 3-pointers to help the Utes carve out a 10-2 lead. When BYU threatened to close the gap a few moments later, Loveridge found Dallin Bachynski for a pair of layups and sprinkled in three baskets of his own. His final basket in that sequence - a 3-pointer - pushed Utah's lead to 21-6 with 13:01 left before halftime.

Utah kept the gas pedal pressed down throughout the half. Three-pointers on three-straight possessions - including back-to-back baskets from reserve guard Parker Van Dyke - boosted the Utes' lead to 32-14 with 8:59 remaining.

BYU managed to trim the lead a little bit, twice cutting it to an 11-point margin. It happened the second time on a Mika jumper in the final minute, but Utah answered with a jumper from Wright that beat the buzzer to take a 42-29 halftime lead.

Momentum continued to favor Utah into the second half. The Utes opened by making baskets on three straight possessions, taking a 50-31 lead on a 3-pointer from Dakarai Tucker.

BYU made one last push to get back in the game and cut the lead to 51-38 after Mika made one of two free throws with 14:57 remaining. But Utah slammed the door shut on a comeback by ripping off a 7-0 run - culminating in a 3-pointer from Brandon Taylor - to take a 58-38 lead with 13:09 left.

The loss of Mika also hurt BYU's chances down the stretch. The freshman center was ejected after being called for a flagrant foul on Bachynski with 8:28 left in the game.

“It was good to win for the fans," Wright said. "These two groups don't seem to like one another. I can't compare this to anything I've been a part of.”
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